MOSCOW, December 11. /TASS/. The return of the Soyuz TMA-17M manned spacecraft with a crew of the International Space Station (ISS) to Earth is scheduled for 13:12 GMT, the Mission Control Centre (MCC) outside Moscow told TASS on Friday. Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui has worked in orbit for nearly five months.
At 12:19 GMT the Soyuz engine will make a breaking thrust for deorbiting. At 12:49 GMT the capsule with the astronauts will enter the dense atmosphere. The landing will take place 121 km southeast of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.
The cosmonauts’ landing will be secured by the Russian military - 180 troops, 12 helicopters with special equipment, four planes and 18 off-road vehicles.
Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Korniyenko and Sergei Volkov and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who will continue to command the ISS until his return to Earth in March 2016, are currently staying on the ISS. Kelly and Korniyenko are on the first joint US-Russian one-year mission, an important stepping stone on NASA’s journey to Mars.
A new expedition will fly to the orbiting outpost on the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft on December 15. The crew will comprise Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake (the UK).